Created by Bryan Mc Cormack in September 2016, Yesterday Today Tomorrow (YTT) started out as a conceptual art project with the intention of giving the refu- gee population their own singular, common voice by creating a visual language that can be communicated by every man, woman and child, independently of nationality, education, language or dialect spoken.

So far, Yesterday Today Tomorrow has visited and worked in 27 camps and squats in 8 countries across Europe, collaborating with seve- ral hundred refugees. Each refugee receives 3 sheets of paper and colored pens and is invited to draw 3 sketches: One of their life before: Yesterday. One of their current life: Today. And one of their life imagi- ned in the future: Tomorrow.

However, as Yesterday Today Tomorrow has developed, so too has it’s objectives. What was once a conceptual art project has now become a fully-fledged International Project with very specific goals that are broken-down into 3 main categories.

The creation of educational/ pedagogical tools

Since the beginning, YTT has collaborated with Sheffield Hallam University to develop series of masterclasses, research modules and workshops with the performance students of the university. The objective is to create a pedagogical tool (a schools workshop protocol) by combining refugee drawings and performance techniques to educate students on the refugee crisis through the exploration and embodiment of the refugee drawings collected as part of YTT.
YTT has also started to collaborate with the Department of Education at Roma University with special expertise in Child Development, Cognitive Development, Developmental Psychopathology and Nonver- bal Communication to create an educational program for primary-school pupils and the training on that program for the pre-service teachers.

The creation of psychosocial programs and clinical assessment tools

YTT will begin the research on clinical assessment tools, protocols and psychosocial programs that can be used, through the YTT drawing workshops and it’s digital database, by volunteers in refugee camps and conflict zones around the world. With the aim to help refugees cope better with war and displacement and signal mental health complications for which refugees, and above all children, are at an extremely high risk of suffering from. And/or as a “first-contact/ presentational tool” for refugee comprehension suitable and adaptable to most refugee initiatives around the world. This research will involve further collaboration with universities, academic and specialized institutions and also broaden-out to psychological and linguistic development research. As well as involving future educators with training on the use of YTT as a tool to create emotional and comprehensible contact with refugees/migrant population and as a visual language “platform” to share their experiences.

The artistic interpretation
 of this visual language

The people who should visualize and give voice to this humanitarian disaster are the refugees themselves. YTT maps out, as a cultural and visual memory, the global exodus of people. Moreover, by participating in the creation of these drawings, the refugees are leaving their own trace, creating their own contemporary culture and voice whilst simul- taneously losing all traceability of their inherited culture. Traceability is credibility, without it, the existence of a people disappears. Each refugee drawing counts. Each refugee drawing is a voice. Every voice counts.